Baptized for the remission of sins

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

There are those who teach that salvation is “by faith only” and “there is nothing a person can or must do to be saved.” However, such ideas contradict the clear teaching of scripture. An honest look at the abundance of passages addressing salvation in the Bible would show that we must choose obedience to God’s will in order to be saved.

One common attempt that is made in order to explain away the necessity of water baptism is to say that the word for in Acts 2:38 actually means because of the remission of sins. That is, Peter wasn’t saying that those asking what they must do had to be baptized in order to receive the remission of sins. Rather, he was saying that they needed to be baptized because of the remission of sins. According to this idea, the people there had already been saved by faith and only needed to be baptized as an outward show of an inward faith. Where exactly that is in the text is a mystery.

The context of Acts 2:38 makes it clear that Peter was telling his audience that they must be baptized in order to receive the remission of sins, not because they already had received it. The apostles preached Christ to them. Acts 2:37 says that they were convicted by what the apostles preached and asked what they had to do about it. Peter answers that question in Acts 2:38. If Peter wasn’t telling them what they had to do in order to be forgiven of rejecting Christ, then what was he telling them? If they were saved by faith only, then why did Peter tell them to repent? If repent was in order to receive the remission of sins then that wouldn’t be by faith only, would it? So, in Acts 2:14-36 they heard the gospel preached.

In Acts 2:37, their conviction shows that they believed what was taught. So Peter told them that they had to repent and be baptized by the authority of Christ, Whom they had formerly rejected.

When they did what Peter told them to do, it says they were added. They were added by the Lord to the Lord’s church! If Peter was telling them to be baptized because they had already received the remission of sins then why does he say, “and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?” If they were saved before they were baptized then wouldn’t they have already received the gift of the Holy Spirit? Think about it!

Norm Fields is the minister for the Church of Christ Northside meeting at 1101 Hogansville Road in LaGrange. He may be reached at 706-812-9950 or